P.Y. Hong, D. Mantilla-Calderon, C. Wang
Applied and Environmental Microbiology, (2020)
Many biological contaminants are disseminated through water, and their occurrence has potential detrimental impacts on public and environmental health. Conventional monitoring tools rely on cultivation and are not robust in addressing modern water quality concerns. This review proposes metagenomics as a means to provide a rapid, nontargeted assessment of biological contaminants in water. When further coupled with the appropriate methods (e.g., quantitative PCR and flow cytometry) and bioinformatic tools, metagenomics can provide information concerning both the abundance and diversity of biological contaminants in reclaimed waters. Further correlation between the metagenomic-derived data of selected contaminants and the measurable parameters of water quality can also aid in devising strategies to alleviate undesirable water quality. Here, we reviewed metagenomic approaches (i.e., both sequencing platforms and bioinformatic tools) and studies that demonstrated their use for reclaimed water quality monitoring. We also provide recommendations on areas of improvement that will allow metagenomics to significantly impact how the water industry performs reclaimed water quality monitoring in the future.